Thursday late afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesSorry for the long silence today. It’s just that, well, I’ve been busy. In addition to home maintenance and chauffeuring, I swear that someone has wanted to talk to me (by phone, in person, or through text) every 10 minutes all day long. Honestly, I don’t know why because I really am not that interesting.

Blogging is in my blood, though, and no matter how crazy the day, it’s going to ooze out. Here are a mish-mash of things that caught my eye:

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Nice Deb tipped me off to the fact that Ted Cruz has been tracking Obama’s lawlessness. It’s a long, long ugly list. It’s also a reminder that, although Dems like to say that Obama has issued fewer executive orders than other presidents, the issue isn’t quantity, it’s quality. The others’ executive orders were uninteresting procedural matters. Obama, on the other hand, has used his executive orders to create new law or violate existing law. (See Ted Cruz’s entire collection of lists here.)

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One of the reasons we have laws, especially border laws, is to protect public health.  Obama’s lawlessness means health outbreaks. The article to which I’m linking (one of many today about the scourge coming from the south) professes ignorance as to the source of TB, but I can tell you the sources of TB: immigrants and prisoners. Those are the two places in America that incubate the disease.

No wonder Eileen Toplansky makes a credible argument that Obama is president over the culture of death. Whether it’s his embrace of Islam, of abortion, or of illegal immigrants, or his abiding and manifest hostility to the military, Obama is doing what he can to get Americans killed.

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Daniel Pipes thinks that Bibi Netanyahu might be the right leader at the right time for Israel. I sure hope Pipe’s is right, because Israel no longer has America at her back. What’s ironic is that Obama has turned America-the-nation against Israel just as individual Americans are supporting Israel more than ever.

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Proving that it’s not totally immune to the death of teenage boys, the Obama administration breathed a sigh of relief when a 16-year-old teenage Arab youth turned up dead in Israel. Whew! The narrative is all good: Israelis are just as bad as Arabs.  After first being resolutely silent about the Israeli victims, and then softly castigating the “cycle of violence,” the Obama administration is in full throated weeping mode for that Arab boy (who may actually have been a victim of homophobia). Richard Baehr has more.

But of course, as my very dear friend Rob Miller says, to the Obama administration, Israel’s always in the wrong.

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I once had a friend who got into fights with everyone. At first, I accepted the friend’s version of events, which was that this person was mean, and that person careless, and the other person stupid, and the next person vicious. Eventually, of course, I figured out that the single common denominator in all the fights (often with people I knew) was my friend — who is a friend no longer. Daniel Greenfield’s post about Islam being the problem reminded me of that old, unhappy friendship.

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The Left’s war against the Redskin’s team name is not just a random happenstance. It is part of the way the Left functions, picking small battles so as to avoid large ones, fighting free nations so as to empower slave nations, and generally driving the culture down, down, down. Dennis Prager explains.

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I was going to label this link “everything you always wanted to know about political emails but were afraid to ask.” Then, having read the article, I realized you were right to be afraid. Pretty nasty fundraising forces are at work to frighten and harass the American people, and that’s true for both sides of the political aisle.  In an information age, he who screams most hysterically apparently gets the most money.

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We all dream of one day meeting our soul mate.  America’s shame is that its president’s soul mate is Bill Ayers.

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Daniel Henninger slices and dices Barack Obama’s totalitarian disdain for Congress.  (That link might be behind a pay wall.)  Sadly, the Left half of Congress agrees with Obama and is anxious to cede its power to the executive branch.

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Obama’s disdain for law has infected a lone Colorado court clerk who, in total violation of Colorado law, is issuing same sex marriage licenses just because she wants to. She’s totally correct that the 10th Circuit is going to change the law any minute but, until it does (a) those licenses are invalid and, let me say again, (b) she’s breaking the law.  The Republican state attorney is probably right, though, not to throw her Leftist derriere in jail.  She’d just become a martyr.  What would you do to punish her so as to avoid her martyrdom?

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Hillary will say anything to get elected.  If she needs to sell herself to America, she’ll hew slightly to the center.  But when the chips are down, she reverts to her intellectual home, which is the hard left.  Paul Kengor explains how Hillary readily abandoned both religion and intelligence in order to pander to the base about same-sex marriage and the newly discovered right that employers must pay for their employee’s birth control.

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On the subject of the Hobby Lobby case, I’ve got a cartoon and a few comments:

Not my bosss business

When I haven’t been talking to people today, I’ve spent a bit of time on Facebook trying to convince Lefties that (a) the Hobby Lobby decision is not five old white men denying women across America access to birth control and (b) that none of my hysterically unhappy friends has made a credible case explaining why it’s suddenly become a fundamental right that employers must pay for employees to have all possible forms of conception. I’m making no headway whatsoever. They’re in total paranoid hysteria mode and are not amendable to anything but a solid left hook, which I cannot deliver via Facebook.

(Ten minutes after I wrote the above, I got a message from someone who is Facebook friends with a gay man who imagines that concentration camps and gas chambers are around the corner, thanks to Hobby Lobby.  She was unable to comment directly on my post, since she’s not a friend, but she thanked me very much for my sensible, logical explication of the case.  I was grateful.)

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My DemProgs’ hysterically-based stupidity is fully equal to the stupidity of this New Yorker author, who tries to claim that Hobby Lobby is no different from the Taliban. The article shows (a) a complete failure to understand controlling law, which would support the governments compelling (and traditional) interesting in preventing epidemic diseases to trump an individual’s or corporation’s religious scruples, and (b) the Leftist impulse to say that there’s no difference between modern Christianity, which ended slavery, child labor, the 80 hour work week, etc., on the one hand, and the Taliban, which wants to enslave everyone it doesn’t actually kill, on the other hand.

Of course, no one really expects anything approach intelligence from the New Yorker anymore. In the old days, even when it was wrong, it was wrong in a smart way. Now it’s just plain ole stupid.

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Veterans died so Obamacare could live.

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Here’s an interesting bit of historic trivia: The baby whom the Nazis touted as the ne plus ultra of Aryan beauty . . . was Jewish.

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Oh, my goodness. I’m still laughing:

Hat tip: iOwnTheWorld

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I thought I’d end this post by throwing in a couple of old Irving Berlin videos, made back in the day when America knew her enemies were and was proud to fight them. Longtime readers have seen these chestnuts before, so I’ll just apologize for the fact that they’re sort of my go-to videos when I’m feeling I live in a country besieged.

Before you watch the videos, you may want to remember that the American character was different back then.

(In addition to my own efforts, many thanks to Earl Aagard for his help finding interesting material.)

Friday afternoon round up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesLots of good stuff today, so I’m going to dive right in.  As always, these aren’t in any particular order, so you may find interesting things buried halfway down the list.

I’ve made the same point before, but I still like to see it come from Daniel Hannan and Jonah Goldberg:  Nazis came from the Left, not from the right.  Incidentally, I still like the way I phrased it, which was that we should get rid of the archaic Left/Right or Fascist/Communist/Capitalist language and, instead, look at political systems in terms of Statist versus Individualist forms of government.  The world’s most famous bad guys, no matter the name they gave themselves, land on the statist side.  America, before Obama, was more individualists, as she was when she went around the world freeing people from statists calling themselves Communists, Fascists, Nazis, Military Juntas, Muslim Fundamentalists, etc.

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One of the things that distinguished George Bush was that he was a good manager — proving that he got something useful out of his stint in Harvard Business School. He surrounded himself by efficient, knowledgeable people who reflected well on this country’s competence, even if one didn’t agree with its policies. The opposite is true for Obama. He is a terrible manager who surrounds himself with people who know as little as he does.

Obama’s conduct is typical for an insecure person. He needs to surround himself with ineffective sycophants who say nice things to him and who don’t threaten him with their greater talents and skills. Obama gave the game away a long time ago when he announced, “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” Genuinely smart — and mentally healthy — people don’t actually say things like that.

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One of the things that drives me crazy about the Left’s insistence on bypassing parents to give young girls access to the birth control pill is the fact that it’s not just about sex (and the Left uses sex to bribe girls away from the nuclear family). It’s also about how high risk pills are. California kids can’t get their ears pierced without permission, but girls can easily get pills that are associated with strokes, blood clots, breast cancer and, now, multiple sclerosis. The Pill is a very dangerous medicine, but it’s so wrapped up in Leftist feminist politics, no one is willing to say “no” simply on safety grounds.  The fight about the Pill on moral grounds is a good fight.  The fight about the Pill on health grounds should be a winning fight — but nobody’s doing battle there.

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Two excellent views about Putin’s escapades: Terresa, at Noisy Room, harks back to the Nazi notion of Lebensraum.  Paul Rahe, at Ricochet, thinks Putin is a fool, trying to relive the glory days of the Cold War but, in fact, reaching far beyond Russia’s actual, very limited, economic abilities, not to mention exposing Russia to the very real risk of a Chinese takeover. Fool or madman, the one thing we know with certainty is that Putin’s policies will destroy many lives, both inside and outside of Russia.

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My sister lives in Oregon. After the millions it spent on its Obamacare exchange, she ended up signing up the old-fashioned way: by paper. The only question is how long the media can keep the prestidigitation going, so that people don’t realize that they’re on the losing end of a shell game.

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Colleges across America: “Due process? We ain’t got no due process. We don’t need no due process! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ due process!”

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Jonah Goldberg nicely analyzes something that we’ve been talking about here, which is the speed with which the gay marriage debate has gone from the fringe to “you’d better accept it or else.” As many famous people have learned to their cost, one of the most effective techniques for moving the debate forward without regard to the merits is the GLAAD & Friends tactic of “nice little place/career/life you’ve got here. . . . Shame if something happened to it.”

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Roger L. Simon issues a call to arms: Take back Hollywood. It drives culture and, to the extent conservatives jumped off the entertainment bus, we’ve left the lunatics in the driver’s seat.

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The IRS scandal continues unabated. Those who think it’s been addressed and repaired have been flim-flammed yet again. Moreover, if you follow the money to public servant corruption, that may go a long way to explaining why our bureaucracy, which is supposed to be studiously apolitical, has thrown its immense power to the Democrats, the political party owned by the government workers’ unions.

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I really, really like Allen West. Here he is with a vivid, but emotion-free, summation about both Common Core’s academic weaknesses and the madness of Obamacare mathematics.

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My bet without doing any research is that, if you studied political identity in the military, you’d see that the military is still more conservative than the population as a whole. What you’d also see, though, is that every subsequent new batch of enlistees is more liberal than the one that came before. Remember, the new enlistees are young and Democrats have marketed themselves successfully to the young.

We know that young people in the general population are souring on Obama as job prospects dim.  Military enlistees have a job, but there’s still the possibility that they too will sour.  To the extent that Senate Democrats refused to increase veteran’s benefits, the very minimal chatter I’ve seen amongst the few young enlistees who are Facebook friends is that they are feeling hostile to the Dems right about now.

The “ultrasound = rape” meme on the Left is part of a larger movement to discredit Republicans with a Big Lie

I will never forget my first ultrasound, when I was pregnant with my first child.  I was not an enthusiastic pregnant woman.  It was my husband, not I, who wanted children.  I had them only (a) because when I married my husband I felt I owed him a family and (b) because, when I was growing up, those of our family friends who were childless were unpleasant, rigid, unimaginative people, something I attributed to their childless state.  I figured that, like ‘em or not, having children was an inextricable part of growing up.  So there I was pregnant and, starting just one week into the pregnancy, vomiting 24/7.    I therefore did not view the ultrasound with any particular enthusiasm.

The ultrasound experience wasn’t particularly congenial.  I lost my clothes from the waist down, and had to lie on a cold, hard table.  The nurse smeared this nasty, cold, jelly stuff on my still flat belly.  (I really miss that flat belly.)  I shuddered.  She then started rolling a cold, hard device across my stomach.  I shuddered more.  And then I turned my head, and saw a string of pearls appear on the monitor.  That string of pearls was my child’s spine.  Everything else on the screen was kind of vague and fuzzy, but I could see clearly that perfectly formed little spinal column.

I never did get reconciled to the vomiting I experienced during my entire pregnancy, and I still miss the relative hedonism of a life without children (sleeping in, eating ice cream without getting fat, having a tidy house), but that string of pearls transformed me.  There was a human being in there.  I never lost sight of that fact.  And when I look at my blooming teen and tween, both fully realized, interesting, intelligent, and vital people, I remember those pearls.

One thing I can tell you with absolute certainty is that, if I had gone to the doctor’s office for an abortion, I would have bitterly resented that ultrasound.  Instead, of thinking of the fetus as a “thing,” I would have been forced to recognize its humanity.  Instead of disposing of a “thing,” I would have been killing a “person,” with a spine like a string of pearls.  That is a serious disincentive to abortion.  This is so because, even if one sees photos in high school biology class of a fetus, it’s quite different when that fetus is inside you.

Both pro-Life and pro-Abortion people understand the emotional resonance of scans.  That is why the Virginia legislature has passed a bill mandating scans before abortion, and why Progressive commentators are likening these same scans to rape.  Here is Dahlia Lithwick, whose post advocating this rape position is currently the most prominent:

Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. Since a proposed amendment to the bill—a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound—failed on 64-34 vote, the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.

Before touching on true purpose behind this manic, and ugly, hyperbole, let’s get the facts straight.  It’s entirely untrue that all ultrasounds performed during the first three months of pregnancy are done using a transvaginal procedure.  In fact, there’s only a very small window of time during which the transvaginal procedure is the only way to perform the scan:

Abdominal and transvaginal ultrasounds are both effective at early stages of pregnancy. This fact is acknowledged in this “continuing medical education” module produced by the National Abortion Foundation (tag line: “A Provider’s Guide to Medical Abortion”):

Transabdominal ultrasound cannot reliably diagnose pregnancies that are < 6 weeks’ gestation. Transvaginal ultrasound, by contrast, can detect pregnancies earlier, at approximately 4 ½ to 5 weeks’ gestation. Prompt diagnosis made possible by TVU can, therefore, result in earlier treatment.

So, yes, transvaginal is more reliable for detecting pregnancies for a period of about seven days. Please note the Orwellian use of the word “treatment” for “killing of the baby.” How does this require a woman to have a transvaginal ultrasound? Short answer: it doesn’t.

Here’s another fact that Lithwick ignores — or maybe Lithwick has never been to any of my OB-Gyns.  (Guys, feel free to ignore this paragraph if it makes you uncomfortable.)  My OB-Gyns have always followed a consistent pattern in their dealings with the women who appear in their offices:  take your clothes off, stick your feet in the stirrups, and have the nurse or doctor poke around inside of you, both with digital manipulation and with that truly nasty speculum.  When you’re at the OB-Gyn, penetration is pretty much the name of the game.  (For those guys who are still with me, this is why women never express the proper amount of sympathy when you complain about having your prostate checked.)  If you show up for an abortion during that one week during which a transvaginal ultrasound is more reliable than a transabdominal ultrasound, the ultrasound is just one among many penetrations.  (Abortion, too, requires penetration.  Just sayin’.)

There’s a reason for Lithwick’s hyperbole, though, and it’s not because she’s upset about the Virginia law.  Or at least, that’s only the smallest part.  My sister, who is as uninterested in politics as can be, called me today outraged that Republicans generally, and Santorum specifically, are making contraception illegal.  She was completely taken aback when I explained that Republicans are only trying to preserve a status quo that has been in place since 1965; namely, that contraceptives and abortifacients are freely available everywhere in the U.S., but that churches don’t have to pay for them.

The Democrats are not making contraceptives even more available than they’ve been before, which is an impossibility given their current unlimited availability.  Instead, they are seeking to shift costs onto employers, including religious organizations and individuals who are doctrinally opposed to contraceptives and abortifacients.

My sister was receptive to the truth, and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to explain to her the entire story.  She got that she was the victim of a Big Lie.  Most voters, however, aren’t my open-minded sister and, even worse, they don’t have me sitting there walking them through the lies and smears.  Instead, they’re begin manipulated into believing that Republicans and conservatives are depriving women of all access to contraceptives and then, once they’re pregnant, raping them.  That’s the Big Lie, and that’s what Democrats think will win them the election in 2012.

Many commentators have shuddered at the way in which Republican candidates are stupidly making this election about women’s sexual rights.  What they miss is that the whole abortion/contraception issue is a tar baby* that Democrats placed squarely in the Republicans’ path, so that it was impossible for Republicans to avoid.

What might happen, though, and what we must hope will happen, is that the Democrats will prove too clever by half, so that this whole thing backfires.  Remember that, in the tar baby tale, despite the tar baby’s initial success in capturing Br’er Rabbit, the rabbit’s own cleverness, and the Fox and the Bear’s hubris, meant that the tar baby ultimately failed.  As Americans realize that the smelly, sticky lies about abortion and contraceptives originated with the Democrats, it might be s the Republicans who head off laughing into the briar patch, leaving the Democrats holding nothing at all.

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*I recognize the possibility that ill-informed Progressives will assume that, by referring to a tar baby, I am making some sort of racist remark about President Obama.  I’m not.  I am referring instead to an African folktale that came to America with the slave trade, and was preserved in the Southern black oral tradition.

Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear, in their endless quest to trap and eat the small, but clever, Br’er Rabbit, create a tar baby — a doll-like figure covered with sticky tar — in order to trap Br’er Rabbit.  Sure enough, when Br’er Rabbit cheerily greets the tar baby, believing it to be a real person, he is offended by the tar baby’s failure to respond.  Br’er Rabbit eventually strikes the tar baby, and quickly finds himself trapped by the sticky stuff.  (This is why we say that a particular subject or idea is a tar baby, because a hapless victim quickly finds himself stuck to and overwhelmed by the issue.)

Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear pluck Br’er Rabbit from the tar and debate the best ways to kill him.  Br’er Rabbit agrees to each proposed idea, but asks repeatedly “Please, please, don’t throw me in the briar patch.”  Convinced that the briar patch is Br’er Rabbit’s greatest fear,  are Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear, ignoring their own self-interest in keeping that edible little body near them, throw Br’er Rabbit into the patch — the same patch in which he was born and raised.  Br’er Rabbit happily runs away, while Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear are left kicking themselves. It is not a racist tale. It’s a humanist tale about greed, cleverness, and hubris.

Alaska curriculum

I’m having a very hard time finding out what the sex ed curriculum is in Alaska schools.  Although Palin advocates abstinence, what are the public schools teaching?  It appears from the article that they’re teaching full sex ed, with an emphasis on the virtues of abstinence.

A couple of things.  First, that’s exactly the same curriculum in my Blue neck of the woods, and that’s because the parents demand it.  They want the kids to know have a sound scientific knowledge about the birds and the bees, and the ways to prevent little birds and bees from coming along, but they want the schools’ emphasis to be on no sex.

Second, if Palin’s daughter really did receive a comprehensive curriculum, one could argue that teaching about sex and birth control, with a mere emphasis on abstinence, doesn’t work.  After all, she got pregnant.

The same article says that the schools in Alaska don’t provide birth control, something with which I heartily concur.  Kids can pick up birth control at any grocery store (condoms for him, sponges for her, not to mention spermicides for both), and the school should not be in the business of putting its imprimatur on teen sex.

So it sounds to me, not as if the Palins failed their daughter, but as if their daughter might just be another casuality of public school sex training.